Why the Hell Haven’t I Been Raptured Yet?
"Pending Transaction," a short story by Chance Dibben
Why the Hell Haven’t I Been Raptured Yet?
The Rapture is here and I’m stuck in the bank customer service line. In terms of temperature, it’s nice. Outside, it is face-meltingly hot. No really, I watched an extremely elderly man’s face cook off. Real Raiders of the Lost Ark shit. Upon arrival, I was momentarily bucked off my mission by the frosty air and the cheeky cardboard family posing in front of their new bank-financed home. Perhaps heaven looks like this. Anyway, I’m here on business. My entire family got raptured, my girlfriend got raptured, fuck, our blue heeler got raptured. I scrutinized my life and deeds. Gave to the poor. Never drunk drove. Stopped a boy from running into traffic. Hell, my dad worked for a pharmaceutical marketing firm and he ascended. So why was I still of this mortal plane?
It occurred to me it might have something do with the bank incident. A few weeks ago I overdrafted and came back to argue with the manager. I was aware I would overdraft, but instead of going negative on the bill I needed to pay (getting one overdraft fee) the bank’s system rearranged transactions to where the bill processed clean and I overdrafted eight times on small purchases. Candy bars and sodas. I was out hundreds of dollars in fees on $23 of original transactions. I tried to be calm as I explained my predicament to the manager. Surely there was something we could do—the punishment was disproportional. The manager was courteous and apologetic; alas nothing could be done. I’m fucked for money. And when payday DOES come, I’m screwed, I said. I guess that’s the nice version of what happened. The manager’s professional attitude and firm stance only escalated my rage, my pain. Was there undue bleeding of my life’s frustration onto her? In retrospect, yes. A security guard was summoned. I only left when he phoned the real police.
So I’m here to make amends, to give a sincere apology, under the theory my dramatic scene-making and outward rage is what’s preventing me from joining my family. Ahead of me, a middle-aged man is finalizing his transaction—what looks like a full withdrawal of funds. The teller smiles and thanks him.
“Can I help you?” the teller asks. I chew the air a bit, summoning courage to right my wrongs.
“Yes. Is the manager here?”
“Let me see.” The teller steps to the back office and returns. “She will be with you in a moment.”
We wait in awkwardness. The teller is all grins, and is freshly clothed and groomed. I briefly consider making a joke, some weather we’re having huh, but this person remains earthbound too, so it might not be best to call attention to the whole Rapture thing. Besides, once I meet the manager, I’ll be absolved and none of this will be my concern. I feel like a genius almost, figuring out the rules while other people go about their lives amid a collapsing world.
The manager joins us at the counter. Her eyes shrink. You again, they say. Curtly she asks, “What can I do?”
“You may not remember me. A few weeks ago, I came to speak with you, and I was a real ass. I wanted to offer my apologies. With everything that’s going on, it’s important to make amends before it’s too late.”
“Oh, I remember you. I cried. You insulted me. The rest of that day was a loss, me-wise.”
“Hence my apologizing.”
“I had such anger towards you. We get …unpleasant customers time to time, but you were the absolute worst. I had fantasies of strangling you. I was sick the whole night.”
“Yes, and I am sorry. You have to admit though, what the bank did was unfair. And you could have done something, I know you could have. However, let’s not relitigate the situation.”
“Sir, seeing you…I forgive you. I’m unsure of your intentions, but I forgive you, truly. You had a bad day. That made my day bad. I forgive you and I apologize for my angry thoughts of violence.”
With that absolution, I gritted my teeth. Would the ride to heaven be like a Star Trek transporter, near instantaneous? Or would I rise into clouds, a long vertical journey where I could contemplate my blissful eternity? Would I get to meet God? That’d be pretty fucking sweet.
Instead of any elevation, I see the manager glow golden, angel trumpets fluttering around her. The light and the sound intensify to a painful degree. The teller and I duck—from what?—and with a quaking pop, the manager is gone.
“How’d that asshole get into heaven?” the teller asks.
Defeated, I go outside and sit on the bank’s steps. The heat bullies my uncovered arms and face. I remember then I had a bad habit in college of asking for water cups and then getting soda at restaurants.